Deanna Mance

My personal experience with loss and bereavement inspired me to search for a deeper understanding of death and has led to an acceptance of my own mortality. Out of this more tangible realization that my life will end someday has grown a deep desire to live wholeheartedly. And from this new way of living I am excited to encourage others to live more fully.

My focus in assisting with dying encompasses all facets of an individual’s being: physical, social, intellectual, artistic and spiritual. I approach the dying process and its unexpected qualities with a welcoming spirit, in hopes of encouraging people to review their life stories and find meaning in their existence. As an artist myself, I like to cultivate opportunities for others to share their experiences through artmaking, storytelling and other forms of creativity. I’ve found that providing a safe, warm and meditative environment, free from judgement, allows people to relax into a spontaneous expression of their inner lives and lets them respond to their situation with confidence and dignity. Through gentle care, attention and support, I like to remind others of the opportunity we have, at every moment, to live in the present.

My emphasis on creative expression comes out of the work I’ve done over the past fifteen years in arts education and administration at various organizations, including The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Hyde Park Art Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Sunburst School of Music. As a teacher, I’ve used art as a remedial activity to foster confidence, self awareness, personal growth, and reconciliation of emotional conflicts. In 2012, I gradually integrated my passion for the arts with end-of-life care by becoming a life enrichment coordinator for those living with Alzheimer's and dementia in skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers. In 2014, I became a facilitator for Pittsburgh Death Cafes, and over the years have built relationships with a rich community of death-positive end-of-life care advocates. In 2018, I became a certified death doula through Promise Hospice, and I continue to find opportunities to connect and work within the deathcare community.